IMAGING experts are urging hospitals to formulate clear plans to replace outdated equipment, after a survey revealed half of healthcare organisations do not have set renewal plans, and more than a third of older magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners are not scheduled for replacement.
While many hospitals are operating newer equipment, 58% of MRI systems used by those surveyed are at least five years old, meaning they may not be able to conduct state-of-the-art imaging, such as that needed for certain types of heart and prostate cancer scanning. Nearly a third (29%) of systems are more than 10 years old.
The Clinical Imaging Board (CIB) – a collaboration between The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) – surveyed NHS radiology departments across the UK to gauge the state of MRI equipment1.
The CIB has released its survey findings in a report entitled, “Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Equipment, Operations and Planning in the NHS”.
The CIB survey, which collected data relating to 171 scanners used across the UK, revealed:
As well as assessing the state of their equipment, clinicians were also asked to estimate future MRI workload.
About MRI scanners
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners use strong magnets and electromagnetic waves to produce images of the inside of the body. They use the movement and tissue environment of hydrogen atoms in a person’s body to image body parts and brain functioning. An MRI machine is a large tube which patients lie inside to be scanned.
The quality and complexity of MRI imaging continues to improve as new scanning techniques and technology develops.
While there are generally no major issues with the reliability of older scanners (something which was noted by the CIB survey – older units can still work well), the prevalence of older, less advanced scanners means that it is not possible for some organisations to perform state-of-the-art examinations, such as cardiac and multi-parametric prostate MRI imaging.
About the CIB
The Clinical Imaging Board is a collaboration between the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) and the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) and builds on the work of the former National Imaging Clinical Advisory Group. It provides a single professional focus for imaging in the UK for the NHS and other service providers, as well as commissioners, Governments, regulatory bodies and other professional groups.
The current Chair of the CIB is Dr Nicola Strickland, President of the RCR.
About the report
The MRI report was commissioned by the Clinical Imaging Board, an intercollegiate Board representing the RCR, SCoR and IPEM.
This report has been compiled by a multidisciplinary working group comprising of Dr Martin Graves, Consultant Clinical Scientist and working party lead, Dr Paul Malcolm, Consultant Radiologist, Ms Alex Lipton, CoR Professional Officer, Ms Erica Scurr and Ms Debbie Horne, MRI Radiographers, with help from Dr Jemimah Eve and Alexandra Hall from the Workforce Intelligence unit of the IPEM.
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